Officials urge residents to prepare for a possible ice storm

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Officials are urging people in the region to plan ahead with the potential for freezing rain in the forecast this weekend.

The National Weather Service is tracking a winter storm system that could result in an ice storm Friday night. It said Tuesday, that confidence continues to increase that this feature will bring a wintry mix into the area with icing looking more probable as freezing rain overspreads the area Friday night through Sunday.  It said if later arriving data continues to suggest such a scenario that dangerous travel conditions will become likely Friday through at least early Sunday as temperatures remain below freezing.

“Right now the forecast isn’t really nailed down so we’re just trying to get residents to start thinking about how they could or should start being prepared in the event that we have a lot of ice,” said Christy Forney, Nodaway County Emergency Management Dir. “We certainly don’t want residents out and about in the event that this weather should occur.  It’s dangerous for them and it’s dangerous for the first responders who might have to come help them.”

Karla Long, Emergency Services Director with the Red Cross of Northwest Missouri said keeping a disaster supply kit at home is important in the event of a winter storm.

“With the winter storm the things that would be most critical to you would be a battery powered radio,” Long said. “Flashlights with extra batteries, non perishable foods….Cash on hand.  If we are without power if you go somewhere that happens to be open, none of those places the registers are going to be working so it would be a cash only situation.”

Forney is reminding residents to make sure they have extra food, water, baby supplies, medicines, extra batteries and fuel for generators if they own one.

“Be thinking ahead of the sort of things your family would need if you’re stuck at home for a couple of days,” Forney said.

“Don’t ever bring a generator inside,” Long said. “If you have a generator get the fuel that you need now, make sure it’s connected to the house properly and you’ll be good to go.”

Also, with the below freezing temperatures anticipated, Long suggests people keep an eye on their pipes.

“We want to be sure we keep our pipes from freezing.  I remember as a kid when I was growing up we would leave the water running just a trickle and mom would open up the cabinet doors,” Long said. “That’s still a good message today.  If that water is moving it’s not going to freeze up.”

Officials are continuing to look at the forecast.

“Our response would be first and foremost to monitor the power situation.  If it’s just some icy roads we’re just going to ask folks to stay home.  If we get in a situation where we’re starting to see several folks without power then we’ll start talking about our sheltering options,” Forney said.

Long said the Red Cross has the ability to open shelters in every county in the event that one is needed.

“We have strategically positioned disaster relief products, so cots, blankets, person hygiene kits in every county of our 18 county jurisdiction,” Long said. “Should we get a major ice storm like we’ve seen in the past we have trained volunteers in each of those communities that would be able to open a shelter within their community.”

Both Forney and Long urge people to monitor the forecast and stay home if conditions become dangerous.